Hearings

May 26, 2016

Social Security Administration: Information Systems Review

TAKEAWAYS: Twice, SSA failed to detect penetration tests even though the tests were designed to be detected. Auditors were able to obtain global access privileges, and access Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and other sensitive information. An FY2015 IG audit found weaknesses in SSA’s networks representing severe security vulnerabilities and constituting a significant deficiency under the Federal Information Security Management Act ...

May 25, 2016

Federal Agencies’ Reliance on Outdated and Unsupported Information Technology: A Ticking Time Bomb

TAKEAWAYS: The federal government spends the majority of its $80 billion technology budget on maintaining and operating legacy systems. Legacy information technology (IT) systems result in higher costs and ...

May 24, 2016

Examining the Future of Recreation.gov

PURPOSE: To explore the future of Recreation.gov and the new U.S. Forest Service (FS) management contract for the website. BACKGROUND: Recreation.gov was created to make it easier for citizens and agencies to manage national resources across several different federal agencies. In May, FS and the Department of Interior awarded a new ten year management contract with the goal of establishing and promoting the site ...

May 24, 2016

Guantanamo Bay: The Remaining Detainees

PURPOSE: To identify the detainees who remain in Guantanamo and evaluate the danger posed by the detainees who have returned to the battlefield. To assess the implications the closure of the facility would have on the United States’ national security interests. BACKGROUND: Almost 800 terrorist detainees have been held at Guantanamo Bay since January 2002. Currently, 80 individuals remain detained in ...

May 18, 2016

The Federal Information Technology Reform Act Scorecard 2.0

PURPOSE: To examine the administration’s efforts to implement the Federal Information Technology Reform Act (FITARA). To release updated FITARA scorecards for agencies. BACKGROUND: FITARA provides enhanced authorities to agency Chief Information Officers for acquisition, management, and spending related to information technology. In 2015, the Committee worked with the Government Accountability Office ...

May 18, 2016

Examining Employee Misconduct at EPA

PURPOSE: To examine how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handles employee misconduct, and ways the Agency can improve its response to this ongoing problem. BACKGROUND: The EPA’s inspector general found multiple recent instances of egregious misconduct among EPA employees. In many of these cases, the ...

May 17, 2016

White House Narratives on the Iran Nuclear Deal

TAKEAWAYS: The Administration prioritized spinning their foreign policy narratives ahead of being transparent about their objectives on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The timeline of events surrounding JCPOA negotiations are unclear. The Obama Administration claimed talks began in 2013 with the election of moderate Hassan ...

May 13, 2016

Incorporating Social Media into Federal Background Investigations

PURPOSE: To better understand why social media information is not currently used in conducting background investigations. To learn what pilot programs have found to date, and what plans are ...

May 12, 2016

D.C. Home Rule: Examining the Intent of Congress in the District of Columbia Home Rule Act of 1973

PURPOSE: To evaluate the intent of Congress in passing the District of Columbia (DC) Home Rule Act of 1973. To understand potential repercussions for the District if the Budget Autonomy Act is implemented. BACKGROUND: The DC Home Rule Act provides for a limited delegation of local legislative powers to the DC government. Congress retained its constitutional authority as the supreme legislative body, as ...

May 12, 2016

Examining Management Practices and Misconduct at TSA: Part II

TAKEAWAYS: High attrition rates at the agency are contributing to longer wait times and other operational challenges at airports around the country. In 2014, TSA lost 4,644 employees while only hiring 373 individuals. Administrator Neffenger acknowledged the need to improve discipline for misconduct within the agency. Senior TSA officials wasted millions of dollars on involuntary directed reassignments as a means of retaliating against ...